In a fit of muse-inspired energy (or something in the water), I decided our writing group should put out a magazine and do a reading. The idea was that it would give everyone practice for “real” readings and magazine submissions. It wouldn’t be that difficult, I thought; just a matter of organising the people.
The magazine is – yes, you may laugh at me – not as easy as I thought it would be. There were no submission criteria: no word limits, no themes, no pre-requisite publication. Just make it good and send it in. I thought this would result in a not-terribly-professional-but-very-interesting assortment of writing. About half of what I was sent is precisely what I was expecting. That writing is good. The authors have obviously gone through the effort of doing re-writes and having someone proofread for errors, etc. In fact, this stuff is entirely professional and should be out in the real magazines already.
Then, there’s the other stuff.
I spend a lot of time trying to avoid politics. I now see I’ve painted myself into a political corner and handed everyone rotten tomatoes. There’s no way they’re going to be happy with me. Perhaps I want too much. Perhaps there’s no way to make the writers happy and keep the readers interested.
The reading seems to be going better than the magazine, but I haven’t really worked on it that much. ‘Round about a week before, I’m sure it will all hit the fan, too.
Yesterday, I had tea with another writer from Port Credit. I like spending time with writers. We have a unique view of the world, and a unique view of language. There’s a lot of stuff I don’t have to explain to other writers, like how Margaret Laurence used to be god but then I grew up. Even if they don’t generally read Margaret Laurence, they understand how you can outgrow a stagnant writer; they understand how a sentence can please you one day and bore you the next. They understand ink and paper. And silence. Good writers are often very quiet, I’ve noticed. They spend a lot of time watching and listening. Of course, watching and listening to another writer can be a little counter-productive, so we usually watch the other people.
Coffee shops were invented for writers. So were bars, but I can’t afford that. Wish I was Charles Bukowski. While I’m sure he personally would have disgusted me, he had astounding people-watching skills. Would have made the bars worthwhile.
One of my former students helped start this blog. I love reading it, especially when the world is seeming rather heavy. Their perspectives are so fresh and (they’ll kill me) child-like. No, not “child-like”: innocent. No, either way, they’ll kill me. In any case, give it a read. See if you learn anything.
Back to the magazine….